There But for the Grace of God

Many times over our 100 year history we could have closed our doors for good – like others around us have:  Bethlehem Lutheran Church (1917–2010), Saint James Lutheran Church (1921–2005), Riverton Heights Lutheran Church (1945–1998), and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (1958–2001). But the Lord came to our help and kept us open (Psalm 118:13). Here are a few examples.

     In 1915 Pastor Olaf Holen (1889–1988) worked to establish our church, but was discouraged by the lack of interest among the Norwegian pagan immigrants he was targeting, and told the mission board to throw in the towel [Deo Gloria: A History of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle from 1918 to 1988 (1989) pp. 34–35]. But the board ignored his advice. If they hadn’t, we would’ve been closed down before we ever opened up.

     Pastor Hans Holte died while serving our congregation on August 7, 1933. When his successor, Pastor Osmund Salveson, arrived on March 11, 1934, he found the church yard overgrown – having to pull up “long grass and weeds to get the doors open.” It took three days to clean up the church – with broken windows that enabled “birds and pigeons [to make] their home. What a mess!” It’s a wonder the church didn’t close for good during that year of abuse – if not its “two and half years” of disuse, as Salveson thought. On December 8, 1932 it was reported that Pastor Holte was absent due to illness, well be before he actually died (Deo Gloria, pp. 37–38, 4).

     Pastor Salveson only stayed eighteen months. The mission board saw the writing on the wall and decided to close us down. But a layman, Charlie Johnson, and Pastor Holte’s widow, Minnie, complained and persuaded the board to give us one last chance. On January 1, 1936, Pastor Anders Aasen arrived. That was the closest we ever came to closing down.

     On April 7, 1946, we applied for a loan to the synodical church extension fund, to build our new church building. It was denied because our plans were too grandiose, they thought. That could have been the beginning of the end. But we instead applied for a $125,000 loan from Lutheran Brotherhood fraternal insurance company, and we were off and running. The loan was paid off within five years after completion of construction.

     So thank God for keeping us open when we easily could have closed – and may we also work diligently in his vineyard to please him (Luke 10:2; Hebrews 11:6; Luke 13:7; Matthew 13:12, 21:43; Acts 5:39).    

 Pastor Marshall





Thank God for Prudent Planners!


For the past three years we have put $1,100 a month into a Major Maintenance Reserve (MMR) account. Prudent planning, it turns out.

        David King has been a strong advocate for this practice. Actually, David would have us put in more than $1,100 a month, but he yields to the reality of income resources. I thank God for David’s advocacy of long-range planning.

        On occasion various donors have made significant contributions designated for the MMR or a particular project funded by the MMR. We thank God for such donors.

        This year the MMR has taken some big hits, just what it was designed for. The window wall along the stairway from the lounge to downstairs has been an on-going snowballing project of removing broken windows, cleaning metal framework, replacing drainage devices, painting, and installing new special glass panes. It looks like the MMR will take a hit of some $17,722. Uff dah. Thank God that some of the designated offerings were for this particular project.

        The cleaning and sealing of the sandstone exterior of the sanctuary and resealing of leaking windows look to be running up a bill of about $19,400. The Tilden School has graciously offered to contribute to this expense, besides their monthly contribution (rent). Thank God for the many ways Tilden contributes to the upkeep and improvement of our buildings and parking lot!

        The water heater in the parsonage rusted out and flooded the basement. The water heater was replaced at a cost of: $1,800.

        In the process of replacing that water heater, it was found that the 50 year old parsonage furnace was not going to restart and needed to be replaced. This work is being done, without labor charge, by Ken Hovde and Dale Korsmo. They are replacing the furnace with a $16,000 heat-pump and AC unit at a wholesale cost (thanks to Ken Hovde) of only $5,500. Thanks be to God for the skill and willingness of Ken and Dale who have done so many projects around the church, parish house, and parsonage! They're saving us around $11,000 on this project!

        As I write this, I received word that last Sunday we received donation(s) designated to the MMR of $1,500. By the end of September, the MMR should have $44,454. The above bills total about $44,422. That would leave the MMR with about $32. The Tilden donation will help get the MMR back on course for the next major maintenance project. Thank God that this year we weathered major projects without having to borrow money and paying interest on a loan, as has been done in the past.

        Please keep the Mission and Ministry of our congregation in your prayers.



The Holy Spirit Banner

 By Pastor Marshall

 This banner was dedicated on May 13, 2018, in celebration of our 100th Anniversary. The beautiful Dove on it – symbolizing the Holy Spirit, Matthew 3:16 – was part of an antique canopy, circa 1900, from the Archdiocese of Chicago, and given to us by the Rev. John G. Gardner of San Francisco, California, a friend of mine. The sewing was done by Wendy Cullen and Sherry Garman from the Altar Guild of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Seattle, Washington. The Chi Rho on the back, is the ancient abbreviation for Christ, who said, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will… bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25).




Anniversary Greetings


from Pastor Michael Simonds…

 “I was born in 1947 and born again a couple of months later in the waters of Baptism at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle…. In September 1970 I moved to Iowa to attend Wartburg Theological Seminary to prepare for the ministry. And you, my home congregation, paid for my seminary tuition. Thanks again for helping!... I was ordained in 1975 and served congregations in Minnesota. Now I am retired and living in Minnesota. Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary…. I wish I was in Seattle celebrating with you…”


from Pastor Paul Smith…

 “Congratulations on your 100 years of ministry in West Seattle…. As a colleague in ministry just a few blocks down the street at West Side Presbyterian Church for thirty-five years, I give thanks for your gracious and unapologetic witness to Jesus Christ. I’m also thankful for your commitment to excellence. Not every evangelical congregation has recognized, as you have, the importance of combining Scriptures with excellent music, art, and architecture… My prayer is that you continue to love God and the people He brings into your lives. May God’s richest blessings remain on you all."


Photography by Molly/Molly Casto

Wedding Vows


David & Jennifer King


By Pastor Marshall


Here are the vows David and Jennifer exchanged at their wedding, August 4, 2018. They are based on the vows in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and The Committed Marriage (1976) p. 41, by Elizabeth Achtemeier. They may also serve as words for marriage renewal:


I take you, _______________, to be my wife/husband, from this day forward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful until death parts us. I will be with you, no matter what happens to and between us. If you achieve no success and attain no status in society, I will be there. When we argue and are angry, I will work to bring us together. When we seem totally at odds, I will persist in trying to understand and restore our relationship. When our marriage seems sterile and going nowhere, I will believe that it can work and I will want it to work and I will do my part to make it work. And when all is wonderful and we are happy, I will rejoice over our life together, and strive to keep our relationship growing and strong as we look to Christ to guide, strengthen, and sustain us through every season of life.



LBW at 40


By Pastor Marshall


I have sung the praises of the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) four times before (The Messenger, November 1988, December 2003, November 2005, and “Evangelical Lutheran Worship and Universalism,” CrossAccent, 15/2, 2007). This time I do it on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary (1978–2018), by way of the book, In the Context of Unity: A History of the Development of the Lutheran Book of Worship (2003), by Dr. Ralph W. Quere (1935–2018), long time professor at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Iowa.

Throughout this book, Quere makes the case that even though the process was flawed that brought it to publication, the LBW is overall the best worship book Lutherans in America have ever had (p. 240). And I would agree (with the possible exception of the Lutheran Service Book, 2006). The basis for its greatness is its Law-Gospel principle – marked by the “word that justifies the terrified” (p. 251).

Even so, Quere notes a few problems with the LBW. First, Paul Gerhard’s mein Sohn should never have been changed to mein Kind in Hymn 105, verse two (p. 222). Second, the line in the hymn, “Amazing Grace” – “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear” isn’t Lutheran and should have instead been, “’Twas grace that brought my Savior near” (p. 214). And third, leaving out “O Darkest Woe” (Service Book and Hymnal, hymn 87) (p. 78) was unjustified. Finally not adding this sermon prayer to the daily office for times when there was preaching was a mistake:

“Prepare our hearts, Lord, to receive your word. Silence in us any voice but your own, that hearing we may believe and believing we may obey your will, revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (p. 103).

 Stewardship 2018

                                 Month (August)       Year to date (Jan-August)

Budget                            $19,447                          $171,752

Received                         $18,770                          $171,724





Sunday, December 9

4:30pm to 7:30pm


As a church family, we just completed celebrating the 100th Anniversary of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  And what an awesome celebration it was!...

     As a result, preparations for the 10th Saint Nicholas Faire are progressing a little slower than usual.   But slow and steady is always a good motto.  Please turn your ornament items in as soon as possible.  They are needed to complete the baskets.

     Later in October, sign-up sheets identifying how you can help purchase prizes for the ring toss game, assist the night of the Faire, and bake sumptuous desserts to be served will be posted.   

     RIGHT NOW, the most important action is to 



    It will be a spectacular party with good food and beverages, creative and practical gift baskets you could give as presents, prizes to win at the ring toss game, and wine tasting courtesy of Maryhill Winery. A super way to start off the holiday season supporting our local charities, and having an awesome experience, all at the same time!!!

     Plus if you missed the Saint Nicholas Ornament Tree this summer, and want to purchase items to complete the themed gift baskets, or buy items that

need to be bought fresh closer to the date of the Faire, please give me a call (Larraine 206-937-6740) or talk to me at church.  Plus you can always donate money.  This helps cover the cost of any other expenses that we may have.

     Always remember that the money we raise with your help from the Saint Nicholas Faire, will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Help us make this event fun, memorable, and successful!



Thank You!


Thanks to everyone who helped prepare our wonderful 100th Anniversary Festival Worship and Salty’s Banquet –

And to all who attended from near and far!



100th Anniversary Mementos


Who would want to miss out on a memento or two from this once-in-a-lifetime occasion?  Be sure to pick up your table tent ($10) and shopping bags ($4 each).  The table tent has the historical write-up from the Narthex wall on the back besides the Jean Lindtwed drawing on the front.  And the stow-away bags are perfect for many of our shopping needs today.




& Sealing the Church


It’s been nearly ten years since the beautiful sandstone exterior of our church has been cleaned and sealed. Pioneer Masonry (est. 1957) once again has done the work for us (as they have for over thirty years now). Thanks to everyone for your financial support that has made this restoration possible – and to Tilden School for paying for a portion of it as well.





Habakkuk 3.18

Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2018, Number 308

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall


Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)

We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book....[because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!

Week I. Read Habakkuk 3.18 noting the line yet I will rejoice. Why is this an issue? On this read Habakkuk 3.17 noting the negations – no fruit, no olives, no flock, no herd. So how does rejoicing follow instead of despair? On this read Psalm 4.7 noting the phrase more joy. How does the Lord supplant all of these losses with more joy? Are there any others? On this read Psalm 127.5 noting the words happy and full. What if, like Job, you were to lose all of your children? Can God also overcome that loss? Any others? On this read Jeremiah 33.11 noting the words mirth, gladness, bridegroom and bride. Can God bring joy even when there are no weddings? Also read Psalm 113.9 noting the line the joyous mother of children. But what if barrenness and infertility hold sway? Can God offset that? With what? On this resilience, read Luke 10.42 noting the good portion and the line shall not be taken away from her. Read also 1 Peter 1.24–25 noting the contrast between the two words withers and abides. Do you really think that God can block decay and loss? If so, how so?

Week II. Read again Habakkuk 3.18 noting the same line yet will I rejoice. How does God bring about abiding joy in the face of decay and loss and the overall withering of life? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.18 noting the words unseen and eternal. How can these unseen things bring us lasting joy? On this read Hebrews 12.2 noting the competition between the words joy and cross. How is this joy set before Jesus and how does it help him to endure by despising the shame of the cross? On this read Romans 15.13 noting the words believing and hope. How does this displace shame? On this read John 16.22 noting the line no one will take your joy from you. Where is this joy grounded? On this read 1 Peter 1.8–9 noting the unutterable and exalted joy. What is this in? On this read 1 Peter 1.3 noting the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Why should we care about that? On this read John 14.19 noting the line because I live, you will live also. What’s that life like? On this read Revelation 21.3–4 noting the presence of God and the absence of tears, death, mourning, crying and pain. Is that good enough?

Week III. Reread Habakkuk 3.18 noting just the word rejoice. Why does joy matter? On this read John 16.33 noting the linkage between good cheer and overcoming the world. Why is this joy not rooted in the world? It there a crucial redirection going on here? On this read 1 Corinthians 7.31 and 1 John 2.17 about how the world is passing away. Why does that matter? Is it because the world and its delights cannot sustain us? Is it because we need a firmer foundation that stretches beyond the existence of the world itself? On this read Isaiah 43.21 on how we were formed to praise God; and John 1.12 about becoming children of God through faith. So does focusing on rightly grounded joy clarify who are supposed to be and what we are to labor for (John 6.27)?

Week IV. Read Habakkuk 3.18 one last time noting that word rejoice again. What blocks us from rejoicing as we should? On this read James 1.2–3 noting the word trials. How does this reading link joy together with trials? Is it that trials test us in order to make us steadfast – and only then properly joyful? Why doesn’t being afflicted like this ruin our joy? On this read Romans 14.17 noting the shift from food and drink to the Holy Spirit. What does this mean for us? On this read 2 Timothy 3.4 noting the line lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. How wrenching is this move away from worldly pleasures? On this read Acts 9.3–4 noting the flash and the fall to the ground. Note also the word violently in Luke 16.16. Is this a deterrent? Does anybody want to become a brother of jackals (Job 30.29)? On this read Matthew 7.14 noting the words life and few. What’s the significance of that assessment? On this read Romans 9.27 noting the line only a remnant… will be saved. Do you believe that? Why or why not? How does that make you feel? Joyous?




Duwamish Bus Tour

With Historian David M. Buerge

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, 25 of us went on a bus tour of sacred sites of the Duwamish people, with official tribal historian, David M. Buerge. Last time we did this with David was on February 19, 1994. Since then about half the sites have been covered over by development and construction. So afterwards we had a slide show of what used to be visible but now isn’t. We learned on this tour that the Duwamish people still need official recognition; and Chief Seattle’s birthplace in Kent needs an official marker made, installed and dedicated. On this tour we learned about Duwamish myths explaining favorable weather and how the abundant salmon runs came about. This tour was set-up as part of our 100th Anniversary celebration – and also as a promotional for David’s new bestseller, Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name (Sasquatch, 2017).





Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Bob & Barbara Schorn, Eileen Nestoss, Marlis Ormiston, Aasha Sagmoen & Ajani Hammond, Melanie Johnson, Kyra Stromberg, Matt Anderson, Cristian Clemente, Jeannine & Gregory Lingle, Milly Nikula, Larraine King, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Lecturers, Celia Balderston, The Rev. John Hinderlie, The Rev. Paul Smith, The Rev. Dan Peterson, Ion & Galina Ceaicovschi, Chris & Margeen Boyer, Sheila Feichtner, Deanne & Lucy Heflin, Jim & Hillary Thoren, Bessie Cook, Harold Jensen, Mary Anne Buerge, Rubina Carmona, Judy Beach, Sharon Cooper, Stephanie & Magnolia Juhl, Emily Cole, Harold Jensen, Yuriko Nishimura, Maddie Harris, Marylou & Paul Jensen, Mary Hanson, Brad Baker, Antonio, and those recovering from the devastating floods on the East Coast and in the Philippines.

     Pray for the new born that they grow in the strength of the Lord: Beyla Tuomi, born August 28, 2018, 7.3oz, 20 in.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Bob & Mona Ayer, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Joan Olson, Chuck & Doris Prescott, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Mildred Nikula, Mary Goplerud, Martin Nygaard.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called.

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this Fall.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Saint Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226; Saint Luke, Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.

 A Treasury of Prayers

 Dear God in heaven, I thank you for your disciples, who in times of darkness, have kept the lamp of faith burning. I also thank you for all those who have grasped your larger truth and then dared to declare it. And I thank you for your meek followers who have helped the broken and forlorn – and so made the world a better place. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                       [For All the Saints II:139, altered]